Bernstein à la carte

Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)

Wexford Festival Opera celebrates American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist Leonard Bernstein. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the US to receive worldwide acclaim. According to music critic Donal Henahan, he was ‘one of the most prodigiously talented and successful musicians in American history.’

His fame derived from his long tenure as the music director of the New York Philharmonic, from his conducting of concerts with most of the world’s leading orchestras, and from his music for West Side Story, Peter Pan, Candide, Wonderful Town, On the Town, On the Waterfront, his Mass, and a range of other compositions, including three symphonies and many shorter chamber and solo works.

As a composer he wrote in many styles encompassing symphonic and orchestral music, ballet, film and theatre music, choral works, opera, chamber music and pieces for the piano. Many of his works are regularly performed around the world, although none has matched the tremendous popular and critical success of West Side Story.

Wexford perennial favourite Roberto Recchia will direct this celebration. A group of singers organize a birthday party for Leonard Bernstein. They wait, everything is ready, but the guest of honour is late. While they wait, they play, they sing, they read excerpts from his letters. The result is a colourful musical portrait of one of the best loved composers and conductors.

The program will include solos and ensembles from Bernstein’s most celebrated musicals, as well some of his lesser-known songs (including the two cycles I Hate Music and La bonne cuisine).

Tickets: €30

21 October, 12 noon 
28 October, 11 a.m.
25 October, 3.30 p.m.
1 November, 3.30 p.m.


Creative Team

Music Director
Tina Chang


Previously at WFO: Répétiteur (Margherita, Foroni, 2017); Music Director (La scala di seta ShortWork, Donizetti, 2017).

Previous engagements: Coach and Répétiteur (Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsky, Vancouver Opera; L’elisir d’amore, Donizetti, Vancouver Opera); Pianist (soundSCAPE New Music Festival).

Forthcoming engagements: Coach and Répétiteur (La bohème, Puccini, Vancouver Opera; Faust, Gounod, Vancouver Opera).


Stage Director
Roberto Recchia


Previously at WFO: Director – Mainstage (Don Gregorio, Donizetti, 2006; Une Éducation manquée, Chabrier, 2009; La cambiale de matrimonia, Rossini, 2009), Director – ShortWorks (various, 2000–2018).

Previous engagements: Director (Adelson e Salvini, Bellini, Teatro Massimo Bellini di Catania; Crime passionnel, Piazzolla, Teatro No’hma Milano).

Forthcoming engagements: Director (Tutto quello che voglio, Cinzia Spanò, Teatro dell’Elfo – Milano), Director/Actor (I love you. You're perfect. Now change, Joe Di Pietro / Jimmy Roberts, Teatro Delfino – Milano; Saltimbanchi si muore, Enzo Jannacci / Beppe Viola, Teatro dell’Elfo – Milano).

Stage & Costume Designer
Angela Giulia Toso


Previously at WFO: Set Designer Assistant (Risurrezione, Alfano, 2017)

Previous engagements: Costume Designer (La bohème, Puccini, Firenze Opera/ Maggio Musicale Fiorentino), Costume Designer Assistant (Festival International d’art lyrique d’Aix en Provence), Set and Costume Designer Assistant (Festival Internacional de Ballet de Cali, Colombia).

Lighting Designer
Johann Fitzpatrick


Previous engagements: Set and Lighting Designer (Incognito, Nick Payne, The Lir Academy), Lighting Designer (In The End Only 3 Things Matter, Justine Coogan, Dance Ireland/The Lir Academy), Assistant Lighting Designer (Orfeo ed Euridice, Gluck, Irish National Opera/Galway International Arts Festival).

Forthcoming engagements: Set Designer (Down The Drain, Annie Keegan, Unamused Theatre Company/Dublin Fringe Festival), Set and Lighting Designer (Constellations, Nick Payne), Robot Designer (Susie and the Story Shredder, Mollie Mollumby and Ursula McGinn, Bombinate Theatre Company/Dublin Fringe Festival).


Gemma Summerfield

Soprano, UK

Previous engagements: Michal cover (Saul, Handel, Glyndebourne Festival), Rodelinda cover (Rodelinda, Handel, English National Opera), Soloist (Symphony No 9, Beethoven, Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne).

Forthcoming engagements: Pamina (The Magic Flute, Mozart, Scottish Opera).

Emma Nash

Soprano, Ireland

Previously at WFO: First Handmaiden (Medea, Cherubini, 2017), Polly/Mrs Delacour/Barmaid/Tom (Dubliners ShortWork, Synnott, 2017), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel ShortWork, Humperdinck, 2015).

Previous engagements: Emma (Backstage, Tom Lane, The Cork Midsummer Festival), Guest Soloist (Live Broadcast RTÉ Lyric Fm, RTÉ Concert Orchestra), Soloist (Opera Collective Ireland/RTÉ Concert Orchestra, National Concert Hall).

Forthcoming engagements: Amore (Orfeo ed Euridice, Gluck, Irish National Opera), Yum-Yum (The Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan, Cork Opera House).

Rosemary Clifford

Mezzo-soprano, UK

Previous engagements: Dot (The Original Chinese Conjuror, Raymond Yiu, Northern Opera Group), Paquette (Candide, Bernstein, Surrey Opera), Shepherd Boy (Tosca, Puccini, Grange Park Opera

Forthcoming engagements: Choir (Benvenuto Cellini, Berlioz, Monteverdi Choir).

James Liu

Tenor, UK

Previous engagements: Borsa (Rigoletto, Verdi, Regents Opera), Narrator (Owen Wingrave, Britten, British Youth Opera), Entourage Tenor (Wake, Battistelli, Birmingham Opera).

Forthcoming engagements: Borsa cover (Rigoletto, Verdi, Opéra de Baugé), The High Priest of Neptune (Idomeneo, Mozart, Opéra de Baugé), Mercury (Orphée aux enfers, Offenbach, Opéra de Baugé).

Ranald McCusker

Tenor, UK

Previous engagements: Raoul de Gardefeu (La Vie parisienne, Offenbach, Royal Northern College of Music), Lippo Fiorentino (Street Scene, Kurt Weill, Royal Northern College of Music).

Forthcoming engagements: Tenor Soloist (Messiah, Handel, Three Spires Choral Society), Tenor Soloist (The Armed Man, Karl Jenkins, Doncaster Choral Society)

Jevan McAuley

Baritone, UK

Previous engagements: Pallante cover (Agrippina, Handel, The Grange Festival), Guglielmo (Così fan tutte, Mozart, King's Head, London), Sid (Albert Herring, Britten, The Guildhall School).

Forthcoming engagements: Bass Soloist (Messiah, Handel, Bridgwater Choral Society).

Owain Browne

Baritone, UK

Previous engagements: Lucifer (Invasionen – Dienstag aus Licht, Stockhausen, Dutch National Opera / Opera Forward Festival), Blazes / Officer 2 (The Lighthouse, Peter Maxwell Davies, Shadwell Opera), Masetto (Don Giovanni, Mozart, Alden Biesen Zomeropera).

Forthcoming engagements: Elijah (Elijah, Mendelssohn, Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society), Lucifer (aus LICHT, Stockhausen, Dutch National Opera / Holland Festival).